Macs tend to slow down pretty quickly — between the random data they tend to download by default and your own unused old programs and files, their small hard drives get bogged down after a couple of years. If your Mac has gotten sluggish, don’t fret. It’s easy to restore your Mac’s performance — just follow these simple steps.

1) Clear Out Storage Space

A Mac’s solid state drive (SSD) runs slower the more data is stored on it, so it’s important to clear out your Mac’s storage space once in a while to keep it running at the speed to which you’re accustomed. Simply click the Apple logo in the top left of your screen, go to About This Mac, and then select Storage. You should be able to see whether your storage is almost full — it will display that information at the top of the dialogue box. Click Manage to free up space.

This will give you a few options. You can choose to upload text messages, photos, and files to iCloud, which will get them off your hard drive and free up space. You can also empty your trash and remove movies or TV shows that you’ve already watched. You can use Reduce Clutter to sort through your files and remove the ones you no longer need.

2) Use a Mac Cleaner

But when it comes to sorting through files on your Mac, the easiest way is to use a Mac cleaner. You have to be careful when choosing and installing a Mac cleaner, because you could easily end up with malware, like Advanced Mac Cleaner, instead if you don’t do your research. The best free Mac cleaner is one manufactured by a reputable company, like Trend Micro. A good Mac cleaner makes it easy to identify and remove large files, junk files, and duplicate files to free up storage space and protect your privacy.

3) Rein in Resource Hogs

Often, when a Mac starts to slow down, it’s because you’re running a lot of programs that tend to hog resources. For example, Google Chrome is infamous for using a ton of RAM, which can really put a strain on your system. Hold down the Command button while pressing the spacebar to open Spotlight and search for the Activity Monitor. This task manager app will show you how much CPU power and RAM each of your programs is using, so you can close programs you’re no longer using, and perhaps make better decisions about what programs you want to use going forward.

4) Change Your Login Settings

Does your Mac take forever to boot up when you turn it on? It’s probably trying to launch a ton of programs at startup, and you’ll need to change your login settings to restore your speedy boot-up times.

mac login

“But,” you say, “I don’t tell my programs to launch at startup!” That may not matter — many programs are set to launch at startup by default, and you’ll have to figure out which programs are attempting to launch at startup and change the settings. Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups, then select the Login Items tab to see which apps are set to launch on startup. Highlight the ones you want to remove from the list and click the minus sign at the bottom of the dialogue box. This should help your system boot up much faster, and you can check the list again whenever you install a new program to keep your startup processes from getting bogged down again.

5) Upgrade Your OS

Mac OS upgrades are free, so there’s no reason not to keep your OS up to date. Upgrading your Mac OS will ensure that your system has all the latest security patches as well as performance enhancements for your system. Just go to System Preferences > Software Update to check if there is an updated OS for your system. You can either choose Automatically keep my Mac up to date, or you can choose or go to Advanced to choose whether you want to just automatically download, but not install. There are also options to automatically install app updates, too.

Just because your Mac is slowing down doesn’t mean it’s reaching the end of the line. Macs tend to slow down over time as they accumulate more data and programs on their SSDs, but a little digital housecleaning should restore your Mac’s performance to like new.

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